Bill Text: NY A06266 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for enhanced enforcement of the warranty of habitability for housing accommodations; provides court may award punitive damages to a tenant upon finding the landlord's breach of warranty was intentional and malicious.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 6-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-04 - referred to housing [A06266 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06266-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          6266
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      March 4, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by M. of A. WALKER -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Housing
        AN ACT to amend the real property law, in relation to enforcement of the
          warranty of habitability
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Legislative findings and purpose.  The  legislature  hereby
     2  finds that the rental housing market in the state of New York remains in
     3  a state of crisis, due not only to severe shortages in the stock of safe
     4  and  affordable  housing  but  also to the state of disrepair and blight
     5  that afflicts rental housing opportunities available to people of  lower
     6  incomes  throughout  the  state.  The legislature further finds that the
     7  warranty of habitability set forth in section 235-b of the real property
     8  law represents a critical safeguard of the health and safety of  tenants
     9  across the state of New York by requiring that all rental housing accom-
    10  modations  be  maintained  in  a  safe  and  sanitary  condition for the
    11  tenants; that enforcement efforts by the several agencies of the city of
    12  New York and the state of New York, although often successful,  are  not
    13  always  sufficient to deter such breaches of the warranty by such owners
    14  and landlords, so that in spite of  the  protections  provided  by  law,
    15  every  year  many  tenants  in the state of New York must endure housing
    16  conditions that fail to meet the basic standards of safety  required  by
    17  law.  In  light  of the foregoing, the legislature hereby finds that the
    18  state of New York must adopt additional measures to deter the most egre-
    19  gious breaches of the warranty of  habitability  set  forth  in  section
    20  235-b  of the real property law, and that the codification of law award-
    21  ing punitive damages to tenants who suffer intentional breaches  of  the
    22  warranty  is an appropriate method to realize such a purpose. The legis-
    23  lature therefore enacts the following law granting the courts discretion
    24  to award punitive damages in cases where the  warranty  of  habitability
    25  set  forth  in section 235-b of the real property law is breached inten-
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05953-01-9

        A. 6266                             2
     1  tionally or with conscious  disregard  to  severe  risks  to  the  life,
     2  health, or safety of the tenant.
     3    § 2. Section 235-b of the real property law is amended by adding a new
     4  subdivision 4 to read as follows:
     5    4.  The  court may award punitive damages to the tenant upon a finding
     6  that the landlord's breach of the warranty set forth in this section was
     7  intentional and malicious  or  demonstrates  a  conscious  disregard  of
     8  severe risks to the life, health, or safety of the tenant.
     9    §  3.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
    10  have become a law.
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